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MacDill welcomes new command chief

by Airman Jose Climaco
Thunderbolt staff writer
Photo by Airman Jose Climaco

Command Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Lawrence made the rounds Tuesday trying to meet Airmen throughout the base. Master Sgt. Bernice Van Dusen met the chief at the 310th Airlift Squadron.

It's no surprise a person raised by parents who instilled discipline, faith in country, ethics and accountability holds one of the highest positions in the enlisted ranks.

"I tried to follow their example," said Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Lawrence, the 6th Air Mobility Wing's new command chief.

Formerly stationed at MacDill, Chief Lawrence arrived Monday from Hickam AFB, Hawaii, where he was the command network operations chief for Headquarters Pacific Air Forces.

He replaces Chief Master Sgt. Lew Monroe, who moved to Bolling AFB, Washington D.C.

Chief Lawrence said being at MacDill previously is a great benefit because he is familiar with Chief Monroe's policies and the way he operated. He will not make changes for the sake of change, said Chief Lawrence, who added he will "lead the way I would like to be led." He said troops can expect the command chief to be supportive, to always give his best effort and lead with honesty.

"I will carry on the commander's vision," the chief said. I plan to do the best I can to represent the enlisted force at MacDill," he added.

Professionalism plays an important role. It makes living the Air Force's core values second-nature, and it's our defining trait, he said. MacDill's mission emphasizes it every day with the ongoing global war on terrorism. Airmen make sacrifices without realizing it, but it's their jobs, said the chief.

A challenge for the command chief is to meet the MacDill family and get its input about important issues. In his first days as command chief, Chief Lawrence said he has "only scratched the surface," but will continue to meet more troops.

MacDill has undergone and continues to go through changes and construction since Chief Lawrence left in 2003. The Davis Conference Center was completed and a new control tower will be finished in 2005. Chief Lawrence said he is excited about MacDill's future.

"I'm glad to see how new housing is progressing," the command chief added.

For leisure, the command chief said he enjoys playing golf because it's a chance to get fresh air, get exercise and get out of the office. He encourages Airmen to do things they like, take leave and spend time with family, because of the increase in Air Expeditionary Force deployments.

Chief Lawrence said Tampa's community support of MacDill is unique. He hasn't experienced it anywhere else in his 26 years of service. It's a family feeling and a homecoming, said Chief Lawrence, who is a Sarasota native.

Being the top enlisted Airman requires world-class leadership. The command chief said he is confident in the support he will receive to help him achieve his goal of success of representing MacDill's enlisted Airmen.




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